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the beautiful destruction

Tuesday, November 29, 2005


Shaolin Cowboy
Pictured: Geof Darrow's Shaolin Cowboy.

Geof Darrow is a badass -- he's always been a badass. The first time I stumbled across his work was in 1990, when he and Frank Miller teamed up for a comic book mini-series called Hard Boiled -- which followed a tax collector turned psychotic cyborg through an extremely violent and surrealistic world. Hard Boiled has always been a bench mark of sorts in my comic reading. So I was pretty excited when my friend Gregg informed me that Geof Darrow had a new comic called Shaolin Cowboy -- released through the Wachowski Brothers' Burlyman Entertainment. This time around, Darrow is the creator, writer, and illustrator. I have yet to locate the comic, but the previews I've been checking out online look incredible. The art appears to be top notch as always, and it seems there's no lack of bloodshed, violence, or cynical humor -- all of which is good stuff.

Related links
Darkhorse Comics
Burlyman Entertainment

Monday, November 28, 2005


Pictured: Black Sabbath promo photo circa 1970s.

It's been a long time coming, but finally, a slew of important (and often commercially overlooked) bands are being inducted into the Rock 'N' Roll Hall of Fame -- most importantly (in my opinion), Black Sabbath [Read the full article here].

Along with Sabbath, the Sex Pistols and Blondie will also be honored.

Monday, November 21, 2005


Shinedown by James Jean
Pictured: "Shinedown" illustration by James Jean.

Name: James Jean
Classification: Illustrator and painter
Official website: www.jamesjean.com

James Jean was educated at the School of Visual Arts in New York and earned his BFA in 2001. He currently lives in Los Angeles.

Clients include DC, the New York Times, the Washinton Post, TIME, Simon & Schuster, Warner Books, Scholastic, Atlantic Records, Elektra Records, Interscope Records, Mother Jones, NYLON, Playboy, Popular Science, Burton, SPIN, Men's Health, Men's Health Germany, Runner's World, Upper Deck, TOR Books, ESPN the Magazine, Columbia University Magazine, Future Music Magazine, Target, Baseline, Security Management, Archaeology, Society for Human Resource Management, TORO Magazine, Marvel, the New York Academy of Sciences.

Awards include Gold Medal Society of Illustrators LA, Eisner Award Best Cover Artist 2004 & 2005, Harvey Award Best Cover Artist 2005, American Illustration 22, 23, Society of Illustrators 45, 46, 47.

Related links
Polite Winter
Process Recess


Pictured: Bush foiled by confounded Chinese locks.

BEIJING — Irked by a reporter who told him he seemed to be "off his game" at a public appearance here, President Bush sought to make a hasty exit from a news conference but was thwarted by locked doors.

At the end of a day of meetings with Chinese President Hu Jintao and other officials, Bush held a session with a small group of U.S. reporters and spoke at length about religious freedom, the Iraq war and the value of China's currency.

The final reporter he called on assessed Bush's performance earlier in the day when he stood beside Hu in the Great Hall of the People near Tiananmen Square to deliver a statement.

"Respectfully, sir — you know we're always respectful — in your statement this morning with President Hu, you seemed a little off your game, you seemed to hurry through your statement. There was a lack of enthusiasm. Was something bothering you?" he asked.

"Have you ever heard of jet lag?" Bush responded. "Well, good. That answers your question."

The president then recited a list of what he viewed as positive developments from his meetings in Beijing, including cooperation on North Korean nuclear disarmament and the ability to engage in "frank discussions" with his Chinese counterpart.

When the reporter asked if he could have "a very quick follow-up," Bush cut him off by thanking the press corps and telling the reporter, "No, you may not," as he strode toward a set of double doors leading out of the room.

The only problem was that they were locked.

"I was trying to escape. Obviously, it didn't work," Bush quipped, facing reporters again until an aide rescued him by pointing him toward the correct door.

*Sniped from the LA Times [Click here for the original article].

Sunday, November 20, 2005


Copyright 2005 Matt Clark
Pictured: 'Big Game" illustration by Matt Clark.

Name: Matt Clark
Classification: Illustrator and animator
Official website: www.manbaby.com

Matt Clark is an illustrator. When he’s drunk, he also claims to be a fine artist. He was born and raised in New York but lives in Portland, Oregon now. His work has been featured in a wide variety of clout-wielding publications, and has been exhibited in Berlin, London, Barcelona, Madrid, Paris, Rome, Zurich, Tokyo, Seattle, and Los Angeles. Oddly enough, he has never had a show in New York, where most of his friends and family still live. Life is funny.

Related links
Robot The Robot

Saturday, November 19, 2005


Skeletor's vexed
Pictured: Skeletor's pissed.

Remember when the commercials for toys used to be almost as exciting as the cartoons and movies that spun them off in the first place? The golden era of the 70s and 80s might be over, but don't be alarmed, you can revisit those warm nostalgic feelings again.

Michelle ran across this link some time ago. It's for a site called X-Entertainment. I'm assuming it's one of those generation X references. Anyhow, the commercials are priceless. So get out your tissues now, as you'll be crying by the time you're done watching:

[Click here to view the commercials]

Friday, November 18, 2005


Copyright 2005 Leah hayes
Pictured: "Uh-Huh" illustrated by the illustrious Leah Hayes.

Name: Leah Hayes
Classification: Illustrator & musician
Official website: www.leahhayes.com

Leah Hayes is a freelance illustrator. She lives in Brooklyn. Her first book, Holy Moly was published last year by Fantagraphics. Her illustrations have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Punk Planet, McSweeney's, The Comics Journal, and many other publications. When she is not drawing pictures, she is making scary music and working on her second book for Fantagraphics.

Related links

Thursday, November 17, 2005


Castro x Khrushchev
Pictured: Cuban President Fidel Castro and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev; 1960s.

The CIA, thanks to some secretive method of information gathering (that is their job you know), has reason to believe that Cuban president Fidel Castro may have Parkinson's disease [Click here for the full article on CNN.com].

However, when reading this news, what interests and concerns me more than learning that the 79 year old man may have Parkinson's, is contemplating what the fate of Cuba may be when the cigar-smoking revolutionary dies.

Since the Cuban Revolution in 1959, when the 26th of July Movement (led by Fidel Castro and Ernesto "Che" Guevara) seized power from Fulgencio Batista, the United States has kept a watchful eye on the small island state. In the 1960s, at the height of the Cold War, the U.S. was concerned with Cuba's close ties to the Soviet Union. Now though, after 43 years under U.S. embargo, and remaining almost entirely self-sufficient (save their relations with a handful of South American nations that supply the country with assorted goods), it's hard to see what threat the country poses. During the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Castro supposedly offered to send a large staff of Cuban doctors to help tend to the victims. However, his generosity was met with silence.

Pictured: Fidel Castro with Che Guevara.

Honestly, I don't know enough about Castro or his ideologies to type up a brilliant comparison between U.S. and Cuban interests. I realize that Cuba was indeed a threat to America during the Cold War. But now, it seems more is at stake if Castro were to die in the near future. Knowing a good deal about Cuban music and art culture, as well as the resilience of the Cuban people, I just hope that when Castro passes away the small and steadfast island nation doesn't became a new spring break destination for rich white college kids. It would be a shame to see Girls Gone Wild founder Joe Francis landing his helicopter atop a Hilton in downtown Havana, asking 19-year-old girls from the University of Miami to show him their tits. Who knows though, in 5 to 10 years, Disney may own the whole fucking deal; ferrying families from Key West to the debut of its "Land Before Time" ride (housed in the formerly historic district of downtown Havana).


Babel by Jim Houser
Pictured: Babel. Photo sniped from our pals at YouWorkForThem.

The book Babel, which collects Philadelphia artist Jim Houser's astounding and unique artwork, is by no means new. However, it is one of my picks for best art book, scratch that, book of the year. By nature, Houser's work is so intimate that just looking through this book makes you feel like you're having a personal and candid conversation with someone.

A word from the publisher: Self-taught mixed media artist Jim Houser's creative journey began as a child when he started drawing in sketchbooks brought home to him by his father. Over the years, driven by impulse and inspired by words as well as the perspective that his childhood drawings provide, Houser developed a style combining words, phrases and existential story fragments with crisp, colorful paintings on surfaces ranging from canvas to walls to skateboards and more. Houser forces us to re-examine these often well-worn words and discover their lost, faded and even alternate meanings amidst visions of ten gallon hats, snaggletooth snakes, preternatural beings and visualized natural elements. Jim Houser is a Philadelphia-based artist who was a founding member of the collective Space 1026 and an avid skateboarder who designs skate decks for Toy Machine.

Related links
Space 1026
Ginkgo Press

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


Pictured: Painting by Mephisto Jones.

MADE YOU LOOK™ is one of the many new features here at The Beautiful Destruction of Normalcy. You see, just like everyone else, we get downright bored while toiling away in our work cubicles. So we've decided to put our vast knowledge of music, art, culture—as well as our abundance of seemingly useless knowledge—to work for you: the people. With MADE YOU LOOK™ we'll be giving folks a heads up about artists, writers, bands, musicians, films, books, etc. that we're currently diggin'. So, without further delay, meet Mephisto Jones.

Name: Mephisto Jones
Classification: Illustrator & musician
Official website: www.mephistojones.com

Mephisto Jones* (aka Otis Chamberlain) was born in Christchurch, New Zealand (Aotearoa) in 1975 and currently resides in Wellington, NZ.

He has no real formal art or music education but has successfully wasted most of his time doing both since high-school.He is likes making stencils, paintings, posters, prints, tees, sketches, beats, riffs and large messes…He has created images for record labels, clothing labels, event promoters, authors, film companies, publishers, the street, friends, strangers, muses, and his mother.

He also enjoys playing drums and has performed with Police Lucipher, Seven, The RazorBlades, The Family Mallet 3000, The Organiks, Brojob, Lotus Hartley, Kora, The Bad Apple Orchestra, Afronesia, Village Of The Idiots, The Nomad, Optimus Prime, SwitchBlade and Jesus H. Chrystler. He currently drums with grindcore quintet Gomorrah, souljazz septet The Illphonics, and occassionally makes retarded noises with The Moodswingers.

He is inspired by various things such as skateboarding, phat and heavy beats, urban decay, toasted muesli, special herbs; and his peers, heroes and contemporaries in sight and sound.

*Biography sniped from Mephisto Jones' website.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


Cody Thompson Dolls  Felt Good
Pictured: Felt Good dolls by Cody Thompson.

So, here's some of the shit I'm diggin' as of late. A fella named Cody Thompson is making some incredible stuffed dolls called Felt Good. Don't believe me? Just check out the picture above, then visit his website. These things are crazy-looking and incredibly well done. On a similar note, some friends of mine, who have been making their own brand of "stuffies" called Friend or Foe, have a gallery of their creations online. Check 'em out here.

In other news, a fella by the name of Jonathan Keller, whom I interviewed several months ago for Swindle magazine, has an interesting blog project going on called Nothing New. His personal website, which features his incredible Boxbots (the topic I interviewed him about), can be accessed here.

While this news isn't exactly fresh, comic and graphic novel illustrator Liam Sharp has struck out on his own, founding Mam Tor Publishing, his own independent press whose Event Horizon publication is rumored to be a 21st century version of Heavy Metal. Also, for those interested, the crew over at Pixelsurgeon recently published a nice interview with Mr. Sharp. Check it out here.

Last but not least, my pal Rickey Kim, who runs the top notch webmag Evil Monito, has launched his own website, a blog of sorts, called Mr. Kim Says. That's it for the moment. Look for an exclusive Beautiful Destruction of Normalcy interview with maverick photographer Peter Sutherland next week. In the meantime, stay safe, keep your hands to yourself, and stop wasting time on the Internet (ha).

Friday, November 11, 2005


Pat Robertson is like God's henchman, a spiritual badass you might say. Sure, he's always been tough like The Fonz -- dissing gays and insulting folks who believe differently than himself. I mean, c'mon, that's the guy's job. You don't build a multi-million dollar televangelist empire by acting like a pussy, right? But he's really gone ape-shit the past several years, his delicate and decaying brain rotting like cheese left in the sun. I mean, at least he never ran for president -- now that would have been scary (author does quick Google search to confirm truth of said fact). Oops, nevermind.

Anyhow, here's the latest "business-as-usual" type talk from Captain Crazy-As-A-Shithouse-Rat aka P. Robertson: [Click here for the story]

My favorite pull quotes from the story:

"I'd like to say to the good citizens of Dover: if there is a disaster in your area, don't turn to God, you just rejected Him from your city," Robertson said on his daily television show broadcast from Virginia, "The 700 Club."

"And don't wonder why He hasn't helped you when problems begin, if they begin. I'm not saying they will, but if they do, just remember, you just voted God out of your city. And if that's the case, don't ask for His help because he might not be there," he said.

Monday, November 07, 2005



I've been awake for 25 hours. Holy fuck, what a terrible idea. I feel like somebody smeared warm shit across my face then forcefully slapped it back off while jamming a broomstick up my ass to poke my colon. This is wretthed, it's kind of feels like waking up from feverish nap then being punched in the stomach. My shoulders feel like they weigh 50 lbs each.

The lights here at work are making my eyes sizzle, what a terrible predicament. I need No-Doz... must not sleep, must soldier on.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


Pictured: Artwork by UPSO for Fame & Misfortune, the forthcoming book from PSNCTRL.

Things have been crazy lately to say the least. I've been buried beneath a shitpile of work--both in my freelance and dayjob steez. I'm hoping to come up for air sometime next week, we'll see I suppose. I really hate it when daily life becomes so downright twisted up with shit to do. I could use some breathing room, some fucking oxygen. Oh well, I did it to myself, right? I really enjoy the stuff I'm working on, just wish I didn't have to split work with work... fun is a good thing too. I missed seeing my nieces and nephews in their Halloween costumes this week because of it, and have pretty much sizzled out my retinas from lack of sleep and too much time spent plunking the keys of a computer (how ironic, that's what I'm doing this minute).

My point for this post was to announce some things I've got cookin' for anyone who might be interested. As I've mentioned before around this joint, I run--along with help from the Mrs.--my own small press publisher called PSNCTRL. We just had an event this past Sunday [check out this post] and are continuing our momentum with another event, Handmade Arcade, on Saturday November 12th [see below].

We're also hard at work on our next large scale book project titled Fame & Misfortune. The above artwork is just one example of the high quality work that will be included in this new book. Keep your eyes peeled, 2006 is our year.

Poison Control will have a table (#23 to be exact) at this year's Handmade Arcade at Construction Junction in Point Breeze. We'll be selling the remaining copies of our book Young & Reckless. This may be your last chance to buy, as the book is limited-run, so stop by and pick up your copy. We're also cooking up a special project that we'll release at the event... should be fun, we're excited about it.

Handmade Arcade
Saturday November 12th
11am - 7pm
Construction Junction
214 N. Lexington
Point Breeze
Pittsburgh, PA